Why do we fly?
It seems like simple question, doesn't it? We are, after all, a flying club. We know why we fly, or we should at least. But perhaps you, the visitor to this site, are not yet a pilot. Perhaps you're thinking about becoming one, or are just curious about why we do what we do. After all, aviation isn't for the faint-of-heart; taking to the sky in a general aviation aircraft is not something to be done lightly. And as hobbies go, it can be expensive. It has its share of danger. So, why do we do it? What's in it for us?
Why do we fly?
The simple answer is that there are no simple answers. For each member of the club, and for any pilot in general, the reasons may vary. There are some reasons though that are common among all pilots, that describe, for all of us, why we climb into the cockpit and strap the plane to our back and take to the air.
It is a unique experience, every time
Most pilots will tell you that every flight is unique, that no flight is ever routine, and never is a flight boring. They may not all be a crazy adrenaline rush - if you're looking for that, you'd be better served finding an organization that will let you jump out of an airplane - but neither are they mundane. Every flight brings with it its own challenges, be it dealing with crosswinds or flying into a new airport or navigating around other traffic; every flight is unique and special, and every one will be memorable. Even the oldest pilots, with thousands of flight hours in their logbooks, could probably tell you every detail of every flight they've ever taken, if you can jog their memory enough.
It is challenging
Let's face it, flying is a skillful art. It may be one that most people can learn, but few will ever truly master it, and even the best of the best will always strive to be a little bit better, a little bit more precise. Pilots understand this perhaps like no one else. Every landing brings with it a wish that it could have been a little softer, a little smoother, and the next time it will be. Every flight brings with it a sense of accomplishment - there isn't a single pilot out there who doesn't land and park his plane and then, if only for an instant, feel a slight sense of accomplishment: Another successful flight. If you like challenge, flying doesn't disappoint.
We can go places
Just being in the air can be an enjoyable experience, but let's face it, it is much more fun to go somewhere. In a plane that cruises at 110 kts, as our Cessna 172N can, you can get somewhere fast. Destinations that you would never think of making a day trip out of suddenly are in the realm of possibility. From the club's home airport in Portland, ME, Provincetown, MA is now less than an hour away. Burlington Vermont? Less than 2 hours. Martha's Vineyard? Less than 2 hours. Bar Harbor? Around an hour. Many small airports have cafes or restaurants for dining, and many FBOs offer a car that you can borrow for short trips - just pay for gas. Many small airports also have public transportation, be it cab, bus, or even rail! If you really want to explore the world around you, there isn't a better or faster way than in an airplane.
Views, more views, and....oh, did we mention the views?
Have you ever climbed to the top of a mountain simply for the view? As pilots, once in the air, we never leave the mountain top. We always have a spectacular view of the land around us. And it is ever changing. You haven't seen a view until you've flown a small general-aviation airplane at 2,500 ft over this beautiful state of ours. Sebago Lake with the White Mountains in the background at sunset; the islands of Casco Bay with the sun glistening off the water, the City of Portland arrayed below you as you make your turn downwind; the lights of Lewiston/Auburn after dark....the views never end.
It's something amazing to do with the kids
Many of us have loved aviation for most of our lives, and that love was born sometime in our youth. Perhaps it was an airshow, or a family member who was a pilot, or living near an airport...whatever the reason, it captivated us. As pilots and club members, that love of flying and airplanes and aviation is something that we can share with our own children. We can watch their eyes light up on their first flight. We can let them sit in the right seat and hold the controls, and we can teach them about flying. It is a bonding experience unlike any other, and you may just spark an interest that leads them to a career as an aviator.